Friday, March 21, 2014

Dahlan and Abbas

Mahmood Abbas has been an ineffective Palestinian leader whose rule has seen nothing but continuing Israeli settlement and the fracturing of the national movement and its territory between the Fatah-ruled West Bank and Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.  His age has also crept up to 78, and Muhammad Dahlan, who was floated as his possible successor before he even took office, is posing a challenge:
(Abbas's) erstwhile security chief, Muhammad Dahlan, has turned on his former master, accusing him of complicity in poisoning his predecessor, Yasser Arafat, of promoting his two sons to the pinnacle of a kleptocracy and of throwing Palestine’s future away by engaging in futile negotiations with Israel. Senior Palestinian intelligence men have joined Mr Dahlan’s side. So, too, have powerful sponsors in the United Arab Emirates’ royal court and among Egypt’s generals, who see Mr Dahlan as the leader of the Palestinian flank in their regional war on the Muslim Brotherhood...
To ward off the risk of a coup, Mr Abbas recently cut the pay of around 100 pro-Dahlan men in his security forces, and set up a star-chamber to purge the ranks of his own Fatah movement.
Mr Abbas had already chased Mr Dahlan out of Palestine and expelled him from Fatah in June 2011, but from his seat in Abu Dhabi his rival refuses to fade. On March 16th, the night before Mr Abbas’s White House meeting, Mr Dahlan appeared on Egyptian satellite television, promising to challenge Mr Abbas on his return. In recent days gunmen have opened fire on the homes of Mr Abbas’s security advisers and ministers in the Palestinians’ administrative capital, Ramallah; they have also challenged Mr Abbas’s representatives in Jordan’s Palestinian refugee camps and killed a senior Abbas man in Lebanon.



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